The province says that they have added extra supports to Northern Manitoban communities, a region being hit the hardest by the pandemic.
The largest amount of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba are coming from Nothern Manitoba. While some regions, such as Prairie Mountian, are seeing single digits Nothern Manitoba has been edging towards or reaching, triple digits.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says they have stepped up testing efforts by bringing rapid testing to some areas. The region's more remote communities have limited access to regular testing sites due to its vast size. Flin Flon, The Pas, and Thompson all have regular sites.
The doctor says they are responding to the outbreaks from a Public Health lense, but expanded.
"In case of identification, we have the Rapid Response Teams, Rapid Testing available, we do contact tracing. We have increased the work of public health nurses being in those regions," Roussin says.
The doctor notes that isolation issues are being resolved after the province increased access to isolation accommodations.
Roussin says that the first loosening of restrictions, set to change on Saturday, does not apply to the Northern Manitoba region due to the increased cases.
"Right now we are going to include the entire north, but take things quite seriously," Roussin says. "There certainly are concerning outbreaks in specific remote communities, but that is not it. There are cases that are dispersed throughout the northern region."
A COVID-19 vaccination site was set to open next month in Thompson to cover the region, but that is now on pause.
Premier Brian Pallister says that the federal government has stepped up to provide them with Moderna vaccines, a COVID-19 immunization that requires less extreme temperatures than Pfizer, which Manitoba is experiencing a shortage of.
"We focussed on the hot spots in the north. We partnered with our Indigenous leadership, medical leadership, to get those vaccines up there, but it is not the same thing to dish out a vaccine to St.Theresa Point or Pukatawagan as it is in some urban communities," Pallister says, thanking those working to distribute the vaccines.
He says while working with Indigenous leadership and medical experts has taken time, it was worth it.
"It is important because the principles of reconciliation matter, that partnership is going to pay good dividends as we move forward," Pallister says.
He says the province believes this approach will strengthen the relationship between the province and Indigenous community members.
For Manitoba as a whole, the province says the more cases, the more of a strain there will be on the healthcare system regardless of where the cases are coming from.